Brown Outlines Efforts on Health Exchange Problems - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Brown Outlines Efforts on Md. Health Exchange Problems

Posted: Updated:
(Photo: MGN) (Photo: MGN)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)- Maryland officials said Tuesday they were beginning outreach to customers about an agreement with insurers to provide retroactive coverage for those who unsuccessfully tried to get health care through the state's glitch-plagued health care exchange.
 
Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration also announced it would stay the course with its own health care exchange during the remaining months of open enrollment ending March 31, instead of moving to the federal site.
 
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, a Democrat, faced questions from lawmakers about a separate plan to enroll people who had trouble signing up to join an already existing state insurance pool. Brown told lawmakers the agreement with insurance providers should pave the way for all but several hundred of roughly 4,000 affected people to get insurance, but that a backup plan was still needed by opening up the Maryland Health Insurance Plan. The administration is backing emergency legislation to expand MHIP. The measure would take effect as soon as lawmakers approve and O'Malley signs it.
 
People who seek insurance under the changes will need to demonstrate that they tried to enroll before Jan. 1. Some skeptical lawmakers questioned how the state could do that.
 
Brown said the state has the capability to confirm someone tried to get insured through the state's computer system, even if the confirmation process was not 100 percent.
 
Del. Susan Krebs, R-Carroll, questioned whether the state was making the same mistake of rushing into a complicated technological initiative as she believes it did by building its own health exchange in the first place. She also questioned how much the changes would cost the state.
 
"So, there are so many unanswered questions," Krebs said.
 
The O'Malley administration announced an agreement with all four insurance carriers who are participating in the state-based exchange to allow consumers with known issues in their applications before Jan. 1 to register for a private plan of their choice. CareFirst, Evergreen Co-op, Kaiser Permanente and United HealthCare, set a deadline on Jan. 21 for people to enroll retroactively.
 
Brown said the agreement to allow people to enroll in the plans will significantly reduce the number of affected people who would need to enroll in MHIP, which has served as a high-risk pool for state residents without insurance. State officials had estimated it would cost between $5 million and $10 million to provide coverage to between a few hundred and 5,000 people.
 
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans renewed a call to create a special joint investigative committee to review problems with the $170 million health care exchange.
 
"The administration's rush to pass this bill makes it clear that the colossal failure of the Maryland Health Connection website is a symptom of deeper problems with Maryland's inept handling of Obamacare implementation," Sen. David Brinkley, R-Frederick, said, adding that the problems foreshadow dire consequences to future state budgets.
 
The state set a goal of enrolling 150,000 people in qualified health plans, but as of Jan. 4, only 20,358 had enrolled.
 
The exchange's poor performance so far has been a political headache for Brown, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to succeed Gov. Martin O'Malley, who is term limited. Brown took on a high-profile leadership role to implement health care reform in Maryland.
 
One of his opponents for the Democratic nomination, Del. Heather Mizeur, listened in a corner of the hearing room where the lieutenant governor spoke. Del. Jolene Ivey, the running mate of Brown's other opponent, Attorney General Doug Gansler, watched from another side of the room.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Updated: Fire Ruins Historical Hebron Church

    Updated: Fire Ruins Historical Hebron Church

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:31 PM EDT2014-07-22 20:31:09 GMT
    Fire has destroyed the historical St. Paul's Episcopal Church located on westbound Route 50 in Hebron.More
    Authorities are investigating a Tuesday fire that destroyed the historical St. Paul's Episcopal Church at the corner of Memory Gardens Lane and Route 50 in Hebron, Md. Preliminary damage is estimated at approximately $500,000.More
  • Updated: Md. Gun Law Debated in Federal Court

    Updated: Md. Gun Law Debated in Federal Court

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 3:33 PM EDT2014-07-22 19:33:00 GMT
    Lawyers for the state of Maryland asked a federal judge on Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to overturn parts of a sweeping gun-control law, but attorneys leading the challenge contend parts of the law violate Second Amendment rights.More
    Lawyers for the state of Maryland asked a federal judge on Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to overturn parts of a sweeping gun-control law, but attorneys leading the challenge contend parts of the law violate Second Amendment rights.More
  • Suspect Sought in Delmar Armed Robbery

    Suspect Sought in Delmar Armed Robbery

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 2:27 PM EDT2014-07-22 18:27:07 GMT
    Delmar Police were called to a Gordy Tiger Mart after a woman held up the store at gunpoint.More
    Delmar police are looking for a suspect wanted for holding up a Gordy Tiger Mart late Monday night.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Updated: Fire Ruins Historical Hebron Church

    Updated: Fire Ruins Historical Hebron Church

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:31 PM EDT2014-07-22 20:31:09 GMT
    Fire has destroyed the historical St. Paul's Episcopal Church located on westbound Route 50 in Hebron.More
    Authorities are investigating a Tuesday fire that destroyed the historical St. Paul's Episcopal Church at the corner of Memory Gardens Lane and Route 50 in Hebron, Md. Preliminary damage is estimated at approximately $500,000.More
  • Two Killed in Del. Crash

    Two Killed in Del. Crash

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:45 AM EDT2014-07-22 15:45:19 GMT
    Delaware State Police say two Dover men were killed Monday night after the tow truck they were riding in went off the road and crashed into a telephone pole near Little Creek.More
    Delaware State Police say two Dover men were killed Monday night after the tow truck they were riding in went off the road and crashed into a telephone pole near Little Creek. More
  • Federal Appeals Court Deals Blow to Health Law

    Federal Appeals Court Deals Blow to Health Law

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 11:46 AM EDT2014-07-22 15:46:35 GMT
    A federal appeals court has delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law, potentially derailing subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who have bought policies.More
    A federal appeals court has delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law, potentially derailing subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who have bought policies.More
Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service